Courtesy of Laʻiʻōpua 2020
Set on Department of Hawaiian Home Lands land, in the “Piko” of the Kealakehe Ahupuaʻa, Laʻiʻōpua 2020 (L2020) brings together its Kona community for collaboration, inspiration, and knowledge sharing. The spiritual and cultural values that are inherent in the land and the people of Hawaiʻi are at the core of all it does, envisioning a vital West Hawaiʻi community where local families lead the way. We believe that together we can thrive, and we provide the space and means for community stakeholders to come together – from entrepreneurs and artists, to farmers, fishermen, and chefs – for educational, workforce and mentorship opportunities. Spring and Summer Enrichment programs give our keiki confidence in their own ideas, a positive sense of self, and a strong connection to our ʻōlelo, culture, and ʻāina.
Ola ka Lāhui
In 2022, Laʻiʻōpia 2020 hosted four “Ola ka Lāhui” events where island historians, kūpuna, story tellers and artisans shared their manaʻo with residents and visitors interested in a deeper connection to Hawaiʻi’s history, arts, and traditions. The program’s name, “Ola ka Lāhui,” translates to “The Nation Lives On,” reflecting an intent to share the ʻike (knowledge) and moʻolelo of Hawaiʻi for generations to come.
Here, Polynesian voyaging experts Chadd “ʻŌnohi” Paishon and Pomai Bertelmann are pictured at an Ola ka Lāhui talk story sharing their manaʻo.
Funding for these events was provided by Hawai‘i Tourism Authority through the Kūkulu Ola Program, administered by the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation.
Thankful to be able to serve our Native Hawaiian community and the broader community of Kona, L2020 programs offer keiki and adults alike opportunities to meet and learn, nurturing bodies, minds, spirits and relationships. Programs are designed to cross-pollinate; three recent programs combine elements of food sustainability, familiarization with canoe plants and cultural learning.
Board & Stone in Every Home is an opportunity for families to create, by hand and using natural materials, their own papa kuʻiʻai (poi board) & pōhaku kuʻiʻai (poi pounder). They also work in a dry land taro garden building new connections to kalo and other ʻohana.
“The Waʻa Project” introduces haumāna from West Hawaiʻi schools to voyaging, canoe plants and Polynesian wayfinding. Their double-hulled canoe, Laʻiʻōpua, and an amazing team of waʻa captains and voyaging experts, lead keiki through interactive sessions where they learn the basics of voyaging and how it relates and supports their daily life decisions.
“Hoʻokahua Food Preservation” familiarizes their after school enrichment students with canoe plants, their importance to the daily diet of Hawaiians, and how to preserve them. Recently, students took home a meal packet with dehydrated and freeze-dried foods – including kalo and uala – and an invitation to their ʻohana to participate in a food preservation workshop later this spring.
And, as a bonus, check out our Kona Mele video – created in 2022 to honor the ʻāina of Kona and her celebrated mele (song) and hula (dance). It follows the film crew, musicians and kumu hula to several historic sites in the region.